The #IAMBRISTOL – A City United Against Islamophobia campaign, which will run for the whole of November, has been launched as part of Islamophobia Awareness Month. The campaign is being spearheaded by The Students’ Union at UWE in collaboration with Bristol Students’ Union and Islamic Society.
Following the attacks on Manchester, London and various locations around Europe, we find ourselves in a position where Islamophobic comments and hate crimes have increased nationally. With a 65% rise in religious hate crimes since 2016 and 135 cases reported in Bristol alone this year (Stand Against Racism and Inequality, 2017*), it has called upon us all as a city - and a beautiful city that it is - to come together, have open dialogue and most importantly unite. It is imperative to know that the vast majority of the almost 1.7 billion Muslims on Earth, and the mere 22,000 here in Bristol (according to the last census in 2011), have got absolutely nothing to do with the vicious attacks that have taken place across Europe, and indeed worldwide. We must remember that the perpetrators represent only themselves.
This campaign intends to raise the issue of Islamophobia within Bristol, and to unite as a city to stand against it. We have joined hands with students from the University of Bristol to further promote and encourage the message of solidarity and unity, making this project the biggest Islamophobia Campaign of its nature in Bristol to date.
This is a fantastic opportunity to debunk these myths, to promote a message of cohesiveness and togetherness, and continue to stand against injustices within our community.
The campaign will see a series of digital and print communications across the City of Bristol, covering public transport, schools, community locations and university campuses, as well as a programme of events to raise awareness and encourage discussion. The campaign will profile the issues that Muslim men and women face in the community, with the events open to members of the public, staff and students.
Posters around the city will provide information for bystanders who witness Islamophobia, advising them how to diffuse the situation without being confrontational. With many people facing this issue in the UK, and women in particular being a target, the campaign aims to raise awareness in the public and create an impact of positive change
It has also gained support from many organisations across Bristol including The University of the West of England, Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND), University College Union (UCU) and the Bristol Muslim and Cultural Society (BMCS). It is the first time in Bristol that an Islamophobia campaign has reached such a high level of engagement.